Challenge Complete

Well that’s it. It’s December 16th and I have completed my crazy running challenge for the year.

When I sat in March in the midst of snow and the Reading Half Marathon was cancelled I decided to enter the Southampton half as I had completed the training. I’m not sure why then that became one event a month which finally became two events a month for the rest of the 10months of the year!! I’m crazy and even I’ve realised finally finishing that it was a tall order.

Mix it with two young children, going back to work part time, a husband that plays hockey on Saturdays, volunteering for the charity a minor operation to remove lumps on my head, a heart monitor fitted preventing me driving for over a month and time becomes quite limited, let alone throwing parties, weddings and holidays into the mix!!

I found when I had potential weekends free there weren’t events available or they were too far to travel so I have completed three virtual events during the challenge for this very reason.

I have run several 5kms and 10kms, one 10mile event , two half marathons and one full walking marathon which equates to over 200km and goodness knows how far we have driven!! I’ve completed events in Portsmouth, Southampton, London, Bath, Birmingham, Reading and Newbury. I’ve used more portaloos than I care to remember, I’ve realised I am not a cross country or undulating course type of runner and I cannot run in long sleeves!!! I’ve run in the blazing sun in July, the wind and rain in August and the freezing cold in December.

I’ve completed a colour run where I’ve run through obstacles whilst having colour bombs thrown at me and a inflatable obstacle course which was like being a big kid again.

I’ve had the privilege of running with my amazing friends Alice and Kate and even Andy has joined in with two of the events. The support from my mum and dad and Andy with childcare and cheering me on has been incredible and it wouldn’t have physically been possible without them. George thinks I have won every race as I’ve had a medal and I may not have corrected him! I also need to thank Jenny Chambers who has been at the end of the phone at every event, who told me I was a nutter when I began but nevertheless supported me and who has understood the importance of why I started this challenge. To all those people who have commented on my posts with good lucks and well done, I also thank you for keeping me going. People have written the most amazing messages, I certainly don’t feel inspirational as some have said but I do feel extremely chuffed I have completed this challenge.

I think my favourite event has probably been the Great South Run, it was a beautiful day in Portsmouth, I knocked off 14 mins from last year and Andy said he was impressed and proud. High praise indeed. My least favourite has probably got to be the Englefield 10km that was the end of August but was the wettest ever. It was miserable and a very hilly cross country course. The other one that Andy ran with me and he kept me going and helped me to finish.

I’ve got 20 medals that I’m now not sure what to do with and 20 running bibs I decided to keep!! Any bright ideas please let me know!

More importantly so far I have raised nearly £1000 for ICP Support and that’s why I began in order to give something back. You all by now know my story I’m sure. I suffered with this horrendous condition in both pregnancies but through the support of this amazing charity both my little itches were born safe and healthy. We have got to raise the awareness of this condition so every baby is born safely. Thank you so much to all those who have sponsored me so far. There is still time if you are able to. Thank you.

Now a week off then I will start training for the Reading Half Marathon with fingers and toes crossed for no snow!!


Another month closer

It’s been a while again, I don’t know where the weeks are going to be honest. In the last month so much has happened. Two more events, Phoebe turned 2, Afternoon Tea with Helen George, a trip to Chessington, a minor op and more bugs that I care to count.

At the end of October I completed event 16, an inflatable 5km, it was bitterly cold but fantastic fun. I was lucky enough to be running with my fabulous friend Alice who has supported me through these events so it was great to be doing it together. The obstacles are hilarious, so much fun and we had a really good morning. Another bit of bling and even a pair of socks and new buff from this one!! Good goody bag I must say.

We had a brilliant half term in Wales after the Great South Run but poor George had a stinking cold then Phoebe seemed to catch it at the end. Unfortunately hers turned into Tonsillitis and a chest infection so we had 10days of a poorly Feebs. She recovered just in time to celebrate her second birthday, I cannot believe she is now 2.

I always spend the time around their birthdays even more thankful for the help and support of ICP Support. If I hadn’t found them 6 years ago while pregnant with George things could have been so different as our hospital don’t believe in the necessary tests and early induction etc. Thankfully having spoken with the charity once diagnosed when pregnant with George I was able to be forceful and demand a second opinion with someone who supported us. I couldn’t thank the charity enough and so it was only natural for me that I wanted to do something in return, I ran my first event to raise money, I met the inspirational Jenny Chambers and I suppose the rest is History. I have been lucky enough to have been a trustee now for over two years and I feel such a sense of honour to be able to support this charity and give a little something back, hence this years crazy running challenge too!!!!

I was also lucky enough to help organise our first big Afternoon Tea for ICP where our new patron Helen George was introduced formally. I had managed to secure the incredible Lanesborough Hotel in London, they had provided their function room free of charge which was so generous and means so much to us as a small charity. We don’t have budgets for events so literally every little helps and matters. The event was fantastic and I was once again so proud to be involved. Helen was utterly gorgeous and it was great to meet her and Jack. Not only that we managed to raise over £2000 for ICP Support.

In between all this I’ve battled a nasty bought of sinusitis and two lots of antibiotics 😞 and currently I am lying on the sofa recovering from a minor op yesterday to remove three large cysts from my head. They are something unfortunately I suffer from and they do grow to a point they need to be removed. It’s been a while since I had gone under the knife and I’m a bit of a wimp!!! Even after two sections! I had forgotten the pain of injections in your head though and how the next day even raising your eyebrows hurts!! Painkillers are my friend today.

Trying to find runs this time of year is not easy, I therefore completed a virtual event in November as event 17 and received my medal, I decided to complete one on November 11th Remembrance Sunday and the medal is beautiful.

December I have three booked in to achieve the 20 I set myself as a target in March! I’m not sure I will be able to do this Sunday though as the consultant didn’t recommend it. So I may have to enter another virtual for event 18. Then the weekend of 15th/16th December I have two events booked.

Thank you for reading! A longer post this month as I’ve neglected the blog! Now to plan Christmas!!!

There is one main reason for completing these crazy running challenges and for doing so many and that’s to raise money for ICP Support, thank you so much to everyone who has already sponsored me, I have raised over £800 and would love to hit the £1000 by the end of the year.

Sun, sea and 10miles

Picture the scene, it’s the end of October and we are by the sea in Portsmouth but instead of the bitter wind and freezing cold temperatures of last year, the sun is shining and it’s positively tropical. This is what faced Andy and I last Sunday as we prepared to take on the Great South Run.

I had always intended to include this run in my 20 events but I actually only physically entered the Sunday before, injury had meant I hadn’t completed any proper running since August bank holiday weekend!! The marathon walk had knocked me and my training. I went out on the treadmill Sunday morning and I ran 10miles and then decided I could enter the event. Andy again promised to run with me which was perfect (though I have to say there is an irritation in the fact he can just run 10miles with no training and after playing hockey on a Saturday)

We had a hotel booked Saturday night in Portsmouth so the alarm didn’t need to be set too early thankfully. Going through for breakfast and it was clear the only people who had stayed the night before were runners!!! I opted for a continental breakfast rather than my normal porridge!!

We took a leisurely drive to the car park where we left the car and went to find the race village to pick up our numbers. The area was buzzing and it was actually really warm!!

We picked up our numbers, late entry meant they were posted and we were allocated numbers on the day. Then I had a cheeky lemon crepe! Something I may continue before races seeing how I finished but keep reading for that!!

We were the last wave to start so has plenty of time to get organised. We watched some of the other runners starting and took our places for the warm up, always fun watching the Duracell bunny lunging before a race 🤣 our time had come and not sure whether I was happy to hear the first female had just finished or not!!

I said to Andy that I would like to beat last years time of 1.56 but I didn’t think I could do much faster so in my head I needed to keep a steady pace of 10.45/11 min miles. We set off and it quickly thinned out which was good. I felt good too, it was hot but the atmosphere and crowds at this event are brilliant so really help. Running round the dockyards is so fun and enjoyable. Worrying I kept seeing 10-10 on my watch and was worrying we were going too fast!!! The miles kept passing, we had seen the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles go off in the wave before us so I felt quite chuffed to pass one of them!!! Water stops were much needed and thankfully there were a good few of them and jelly babies which I find I only like when running 🤣 looking at my watch and I saw a 9 at a couple of points so worried more than I just couldn’t keep that pace. Andy was fairly quiet too unlike his usual talking constantly during a run!!! The heat was tricky. Passed a guy running as a portaloo, incredible what people will do when running for different charities!!

We passed the next turtle about mile 7, clearly running in a hot costume has got to be much harder work in this temperatures we had on Sunday. Mile 7-8 was hard, really hard. We at this point were running away from the buzz and atmosphere of the sea front and I started to struggle. Mile 8 and you are on the home stretch, in my head I had by this point worked out we could make 1.45 which I would have been so pleased with. The pair of us were struggling but we kept on going with more water and jelly babies! The crowds cheering were amazing and the last mile was underway. I was extremely pleased to see the finish line and look down at my watch to realise we were going to come in under 1.42! We did it. 14 mins knocked off last years time. I was ecstatic. Andy has to admit he didn’t realise I was that much fitter than last year!! Proud 🙂

We waited for the massage which was such a good thing to do. Both of us think that helped the recovery. Back in the car and home to meet the children and pack for our week away.

We have had a beautiful week in wales, really lovely and the weather has been perfect. For anyone who hasn’t been I highly recommend bluestone for a family holiday.

Just getting set for event 16 on Sunday. A 5km inflatable obstacle course!!!! My upper arm strength is shocking so I’m not convinced I’m going to make it up some of them 🙈 super excited to be running with Alice.

I’m pleased to report also that my fundraising page is at £881, so close to the £1000.

Afternoon Tea next Friday for ICP Support and I cannot wait, I will report lots of that when it happens.

Thank you again for following my journey. 15/20 events completed. Not bad really!

It’s been a while

Apologies for the lack of blogging September seemed to pass in a blur. I started back in work part time, Phoebe began nursery and George entered Year 1. So many changes and a completely new routine for us all to get our heads around. Mix in a few bugs (of the sickness variety), crazy blood pressure and two new gyms on the horizon and The Hastings house has been manic!

We are getting there though and settling in to the new academic year. My next challenge in order to gain medal no 13 and the next event under my belt was the Shine Marathon Walk. 26.2 miles around London, starting at 9.20pm, what on earth were Kate and I thinking when we signed up. I’m not great with little sleep at the best of times and on this particular Saturday I had a trustees meeting in the morning. This meant being on a train at 6.50am!! I fell asleep, I haven’t done that for a long time. I had the great honour of standing in as the chair of the meeting and yet again it was so fantastic to be part of the team discussing the charity and everything that is happening presently. It also reminded me of the reason I am continuing with this crazy challenge of 20 events in 10 months. ICP Support helped us through both pregnancies and ensured we had healthy babies, by raising money I am helping to keep the charity supporting the women who are constantly being affected by this condition.

Anyway I digress, I managed to grab a couple of hours sleep in the afternoon before I met Kate at Paddington and we headed for dinner, it had rained all day, it was cold and windy. Vile weather and it didn’t look to be improving. We headed to the start, put our bags into bag drop and got ready to begin. It was great to begin with, we had so much to catch up on, we talked and talked and talked. Even through the rain and cold, we stopped at the pit stops and grabbed drinks etc and we clocked every mile in picture form. Hitting 13 miles half way at 1.30am was an extremely good feeling. This however is probably the latest I have stayed up to for a good while. A coffee to fuel and we continued. It did get harder as the time got later (earlier) and the miles went on. I must admit we appeared to become less chatty and walking down oxford street at 3am with all those leaving their nights out is always a strange mix!

Mile 20 and I hit a wall, I could feel a lot of pain coming from my right foot and knee and it suddenly became a lot harder. Those last 6 miles were hell, I was exhausted, in pain, cold and wet. I have never been so pleased to see a finish line! 6.23am and we crossed it. The mistake then was that we sat down!!! The pain hit me, when I tried to get up my blood pressure also went nuts and I nearly passed out several times. The 400m walk to a taxi was excruciating. I’m still not sure how I made it back to Reading on the train! My amazing dad came and picked me up and I went home to bed!! I was in agony Sunday night leading in to Monday and knew something wasn’t right.

I went to my chiropractor Monday evening and she confirmed I had sustained an injury, my foot was completely out of line which had meant my knee in turn and back had been Jarred considerably. Under strict instructions to rest Amy also said I was unable to run for at least two weeks. Gutted as it meant I had to pull out of the Windsor 10km. So event 13 actually became event 14 as I had completed the virtual ICP 5km the beginning of September and my medal arrived the end of the month. It couldn’t have been better timed as I felt I had let people down by not completing the windsor event. Having forgotten about the 5km! I’m hoping people agree the virtual will count.

Kate and I have also agreed the next time we want to catch up we are booking into a spa!

This has also put in jeopardy my Great South Run as I just haven’t been able to complete the right training for a 10mile run so I am currently desperately searching for another event in October!

I’ve got to say I’ve really missed running and I can’t wait to get back out there.

Please don’t forget you can sponsor me on my page and help motivate me to finish this challenge. 6 events remaining. I can do this.

Thank you for all your support.

Rain, hills and more rain

Picture the scene, a bank holiday weekend in August, no children for over 24 hours and a lot of rain, the old me would have enjoyed more gin last night when we went out and would have still been asleep at 11am!! But no, since I hadn’t run my second event in August and I’m not going to give up on my challenge instead we were eating porridge at 9am and venturing out into the pouring rain. The Englefield 10km is thankfully only down the road but I had forgotten how hilly the estate was!!

I had entered Andy to run with me as I didn’t really want to do it on my own!! It was absolutely pouring with rain so we were soaked before we even started! It was super hilly, very uneven underfoot and hard work so I am extremely happy to report I managed a time of 1hr 3mins. I do have Andy to thank for keeping me going. So that’s event 12 completed. 12/20.

I was more nervous about today as I haven’t really managed to run since the 10km at the beginning of August. I developed a horrendous headache which just got worse and worse and appears to have been caused by my blood pressure medication so I’ve currently come off that before I see my consultant to work out where we go from here. In addition it’s been a long month with the children. Phoebe appears to have hit the terrible twos early, demanding certain clothes in the morning and learning how to have a temper tantrum in the street are all things she seems to have perfected in the last few weeks!

I’ve got to admit I’m actually looking forward to starting work in September!! I’m not sure many teachers will say they are happy about the start of term! Phoebe has had two nursery visits and seems to love it, she has one more this week where she stays for longer and I think she will be just fine.

In addition I’ve been doing slimming world since the beginning of August, properly, actually being weighed in a group on a Saturday morning! I’ve lost 11lbs so I’m very pleased.

I could have easily stayed in the warm and dry this morning, trust me part of me wanted to but then I remembered why I’m doing this challenge, I’m doing it to raise money for ICP Support, in the last week I’ve helped two local women who have been diagnosed and it brings it all back to me, the fear, the itch, the battle to be heard. It’s not what anyone wants but particularly when you are pregnant. When I hear that there are midwives locally who have no idea about the condition, doctors in units that just brush it off it makes me so angry and even more determined to work hard with the charity so we can raise awareness, fund more research and ensure that every little itch is born safely and that women automatically have access in all hospitals to the correct information and to professionals that instil confidence at this scary time.

Please if you can have a look at my page and if you can donate to this worth cause. It means so much and you just don’t know who may need the help if ICP Support.

Thank you

How did I get to 11?

As I sit down to update my blog I am shocked to realise I clearly wrote nothing in July, events 9&10 passed with no posts. Apologies to anyone who is actually following this properly. Well here goes….

I did indeed complete event 9 and 10 in July, the first being the Thames 10km at Beale Park, it was awful, the heat was stifling and I struggled but managed it because I’m stubborn! George then finished school for the summer. July 6th and I had 9 weeks ahead of me!! Also how had my boy finished reception class, what a year it has been, many ups and downs. Holidays are always a struggle for George as the normal routines go out the window and he has to adapt to the many changes. We knew it wouldn’t be easy but the first couple of weeks were harder than we thought. Event no 10 was the third in the Dinton Series and I had the privilege of running with my amazing friend Alice as she completed her first running event, I was so proud and it was a fantastic achievement. Also I was excited to have reached half way, I’m not sure when I decided on this challenge back in March I realised just how difficult it would be but I am determined to finish and try and raise what I can for ICP Support.

A week in Cornwall with beautiful weather meant I didn’t manage to run, just over indulge in food and alcohol!! We then headed straight to France where we were incredibly lucky to be staying in our friends chalet, it was a wonderful week but again no running!!

Fast forward to Thursday 9th August and event 11! It wasn’t your typical Thursday, I had answered an ad a while ago about vintage prams, basically my mum had one she used with Andrew and myself and I had made her keep to use with my children, seems these are becoming fashionable and so we are going to appear in the Daily Mail!! It meant we had hair and make up done Thursday before a photo shoot at the house with myself mum and Phoebe!!! Really what I wanted to do Thursday night was go out with Andy for dinner, instead I put on my running vest and headed to Dinton.

I was petrified, I hadn’t run for a month and hadn’t completed 10km for over a month!!! But I wanted that medal as the four of the series create one!! Plus anyone who knows me knows once I set myself a challenge I don’t give up!!! My gorgeous friend Alice knew I was worried so came along to support me as did Dad, Andrew and Millie. The support was immense and I couldn’t have done it without them. It was tough, it poured with rain in the first ten mins so I was soaked and got a blister early on!! But thanks to a lovely running friend who I met at the first of this series we ran together and finished together. Event 11 complete.

In other news my medication has been doubled as they cannot increase my blood pressure enough so I’m eating lots of salt too!! Phoebe potty trained herself while we were away!! However she has become a very headstrong pickle. My mum just appears to sit back and laugh muttering the words I can’t think where she gets it from 🙈 George is doing much better and enjoying the holidays now and I’ve escaped to Cornwall with my bestie and the children for a few days. I joined slimming world properly and on my first weigh in today I lost 3lbs. I need to book event 12 and I also need to start training again properly! I also took my dad to the Athletics World Cup in London, I upgraded our tickets to include hospitality and it was the best evening, what a way to watch the Athletics and so wonderful to be able to enjoy it with my dad who has devoted his life to the sport.

I am currently helping to organise a particularly exciting event for ICP Support, more details to follow. Don’t forget if you would like to sponsor me literally every bit helps, as a small charity which helps people all over the world we rely so much on our fundraisers and I’m just pleased I can do my bit.

Panic over and event 8!

What a month it has been, I don’t think either Andy or I had realised how we had been feeling and how worried we had been since the consultant said I needed a pacemaker within a month!! Let alone the disruption with being unable to drive and living in the middle of nowhere! Fast forward a month and I was referred to a consultant in London as Reading really didn’t know what to do!!

On Wednesday I met Dr Lim, amazing guy and incredibly specialised which was what we needed, the best news ever, I don’t need pacing!! It appears I have ridiculously low blood pressure, he took it three times as even he couldn’t believe it (and that was after two days on medication) but that’s what’s causing all the problems! So the answer, medication and eat more salt!! This is a foreign concept for me, having taught for years how to reduce salt content in the diet etc I rarely use it and I certainly don’t add it at the table!! Now I have to consume at least 10g a day Including 5g in a shot in the morning, two days on and it’s definitely the most vile thing ever!! But it’s not surgery, it’s not a pacemaker and it’s not something that will mean a change in lifestyle so I couldn’t be happier and I’m so relieved. I skipped out of the appointment on Wednesday feeling like a different person. I would lie if I said it hadn’t got to me the last month, not only not being able to drive but also the worry and fear of what I may need. Andy has been amazing, I couldn’t have got through it without him and family and friends (you know who you are) have also been by my side the whole way and physically helping by driving me everywhere!!!!

So now no excuse not to finish this challenge!! Running has taken a bit of a back seat as I’ve also had a hip injury but hoping I’m sorting that as the next two Thursdays I have my July events which are supposed to be 10kms!!! In this heat too!!

I’m looking forward to a weekend with my amazing family as the last three I’ve been away from the children at weddings and an event. Phoebe though is being a little pickle, stroppy and demanding (andy says he can’t think where she gets it from)

George had his school report today and we are so proud of his achievements this year, every day at school is a challenge for him yet he works so extremely hard and has progressed so well. Fingers crossed for a smooth transition into Year 1. Again we are so lucky with his staff, classmates and their parents, we feel so supported and the parents particularly are amazing with George. I can’t believe my baby finishes reception next Friday.

Last Saturday I travelled to Bath to not only catch up with a very good friend but to also complete event 8, an obstacle colour run, it was so hot but absolutely brilliant fun and we had a great time.

So 8 down and 12 to go, thank you so much to those who have sponsored me already, it means so much and is massively appreciated, makes this crazy challenge even more worth it and keeps me going!

Here’s to a hot and happy weekend